Saturday, April 16, 2011

Okay, so my kid's a poor sport

Spring soccer season is upon us. Last weekend we got sunburnt, this weekend we froze. Both weekends I was reminded that one of my children is challenged in the sportsmanship department. (Wince.)

You know the kid who cries when the other team makes a goal? That's mine. The one who scowls at other players? Who gets bent out of shape if a call goes the wrong way? Yeah-- same kid. He's mine, and although I would very much like to march him off the field or slink into a corner myself to hide, I put on my stout-hearted mama mask and say that when he's lost 100 games, he'll start to realize that he's not going to die if he loses this one.

In the meantime, each week on the way to the game we pre-empt some portion of the disaster-in-waiting by going over what  he can do if he starts to feel angry or frustrated. Breathe deeply. Focus on the game, not his feelings. Work his hardest, and talk himself down when he starts to get upset. Yadda yadda yadda; I should put it on an iPod and play it for him while he sleeps.

Ohhhhh, I catch myself thinking in frustration as my child stomps across the field, Why can't my kid just... And then I stop myself with the reminder that no thought that begins that way deserves to be completed. The only relevant aspect of why my kid can't handle competition is what it tells me about how to help him handle his feelings better.

So here's my question of the day: What do you do, or what do you say to yourself, to keep plowing ahead when the easiest (short-term) parenting strategy would be to give up? My bottom line is usually to remind myself, relentlessly, that my job as a mom isn't to feel comfy, but to help my child grow into a strong and healthy adult. But if there are other mantras out there, I want to hear them!


  1. I remind myself that Julia wouldn't give up. Oh, right: that might not work for you :)

  2. Okay, a little more seriously? I remind myself that if I give up now, my kid could end up like some of those college kids in my classes....

  3. I reminded myself it wasn't about me. I generally worried that the kid's bad attitude made me look like a bad mother. When I could talk myself down from that,I'd remember he wasn't a bad kid, either.

  4. Morning Julia. My kid brother was known for being a poor sport.
    Board games would end up spilled on the floor. This was when he
    was somewhere between the ages of 7-13 or so. He totally "out grew" it.
    He's one of the most caring of my five brothers. Hang on - time is a
    Mom'freest friend.

  5. Oops I meant "Time is one of a Mom's best friends"